Of the many new cigars we picked up at this year’s IPCPR there were a few I was especially looking forward to sampling, one of which was the La Duena, a blend created by Pete Johnson of Tatuaje with direct input from Janny Garcia (daughter of Don Pepin). The cigar features a Connecticut Broadleaf maduro wrapper atop a filler blend of Nicaraguan tobaccos from the Garcia’s farm in Estelli, and has been described as a cross between Johnson’s La Casita and the Jaime Garcia cigar. The name La Duena translates from spanish to “female owner”, a reference to Janny’s role as a key player in the My Father Cigars legacy. Every since the cigar was announced in May I had been waiting for the chance to spark one up, so needless to say I was quite pleased when handed a sample of the Belicoso #2 (5 ½ x 54) this morning.
The cigar wore a veiny and toothy Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper with a simple, elegantly understated band. Contrary to what I was originally told about the cigar, no where on the band did the “My Father” logo appear, apparently La Duena is its own entity. After clipping the sturdy belicoso tip I was treated to pre-light notes of spicy cedar, along with a candy-like sweetness.
The La Duena opened up with a taste of rich earth and bold black pepper with hints of cocoa. This was followed immediately by a fiery red pepper blast that Don Pepin would surely be proud of. After about an inch or so the spice cooled off quite a bit, and the cocoa sweetness and some more earthy character began to shine through.
By the time I had reached the second 3rd the flavors had tapered off to a great balance, with just the right amount sweetness complimenting the more dominant flavors of cedar, pepper, and earth. This stick was burning beautifully, and the ashes were beginning to stack up nicely. Although the pepper had drifted to the background by this point, a quick retrohale assured me it was definitely still present.
The final third presented a new cream note that made the spicy cocoa flavors come across as super-smooth. I realized that this stogie tasted quite a bit like one of my favorite non-cigar treats, Lindt’s Chili Dark Chocolate (which I highly recommend for the uninitiated). This creamy finale made for a nice contrast to the fiery intro, and the cigar continued to flow through layered flavors of super-rich tobacco, dry cocoa, spice, and hay, as it burned and tasted clean until the end.
I had a feeling this was going to be a good one, and I was right. While not overly complex, the La Duena had loads of interesting flavor that came together in perfect harmony. I had absolutely no problems with burn or draw, and this was a rare occasion where even at the end of the smoke the cigar tasted as vivid and clean as it did when I had first lit it. Out of the new releases we picked up at the trade show it’s still a bit too early to name a favorite, but this one is definitely a contender. My hat’s off to Janny and Pete, and I can’t wait to load up on these once they come out sometime next month.
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